“In the Psalms, we drink divine praise at its pure and stainless source, in all its primitive sincerity and perfection. We return to the youthful strength and directness with which the ancient psalmists voiced their adoration of the God of Israel. Their adoration was intensified by the ineffable accents of new discovery: for the Psalms are the songs of men who knew who God was.” (Thomas Merton. Praying the Psalms. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1956, p. 3.)
The Psalms are the songs of those who knew God. They are expressions of living worship and praise. They aren’t just ideas or proclamations about God. They are vital words of lived relationship with God. When we read them, pray them or sing them, we are joining our faith with the living faith of countless others who have done the same.
“One of the best ways to learn to appreciate the Psalms is to acquire a habit of reciting them slowly and well. And for this it is decidedly helpful to be able to limit one’s recitation to just a few Psalms or to one only.” (Merton, p. 14.)
I find that reading psalms in the manner of lectio divina slows me down and enables me to notice what God may be drawing to my attention. Again, it is an unhurried approach to the psalms that helps me so much. I am growing more deeply convinced that inward hurry is among the greatest enemies in my spiritual growth and progress. As it relates to my formation in Christ, Vincent de Paul’s counsel is especially true: “The one who hurries delays the things of God.”
Buy a copy of Praying the Psalms (By Thomas Merton) on Amazon.com